Western Bulldogs grand final hero Tom Boyd has announced his decision to retire from AFL football.

The 23-year-old ruck/forward has cited the physical and mental toll of playing in the AFL as the keys reasons behind his premature retirement after 61 games and 50 goals with GWS Giants and the Bulldogs.

Boyd’s AFL career will be best remembered for his impact in the 2016 AFL finals series, when he played a significant role in the Bulldogs drought breaking second premiership.

Boyd kicked three goals in the grand final victory over the Sydney Swans at the SCG, including an iconic long range goal in the fourth quarter following Dale Morris’ chase down tackle on Swans superstar Lance Franklin.

“My decision to retire now is a reflection of issues I’ve had over the past five years both with physical injury and with mental health, and they have now accumulated to a point where I just don’t have the desire to play or the enjoyment of the game I used to have,” Boyd said.

“I’ve spoken with key people at the Western Bulldogs and my close friends and family, and I am satisfied that this is the right decision for my future.

“I approached the club about my desire to retire and be released from my contract this week, and we have worked out a mutually agreeable position.’

Boyd was taken with the first pick overall by the GWS Giants in the 2013 AFL draft.

The Eastern Ranges product only played one season with the Giants before he was part of a trade that sent him to the kennel and Ryan Griffin to the harbour city.

“I’m grateful to the Giants and the Bulldogs for allowing me the opportunity to experience playing football at the highest level,” Boyd said.

Boyd experienced all the highs and lows of professional football in his short career.

His greatest memory was playing in the Bulldogs 2016 flag, but heĀ also cherishes the friendships he made over the journey.

“I have received unbelievable support from the players, coaches and staff at the Western Bulldogs, particularly over the last couple of years, which I will always appreciate,” Boyd said.

“Leaving the game as a premiership player is something I will always be proud of, along with all the enduring relationships I have forged and the memories I have created along the way.”

Bulldogs director of football Chris Grant said Boyd was a valuable member of the team in his four seasons with the club.

“We worked very hard to bring Tom to the football club at the end of 2014, and he has been a great contributor to the Bulldogs for over four years,” Grant said.

“Everyone at the Bulldogs is saddened to hear of Tom’s decision to retire, given he is a much-loved and respected person around the club.”

The Bulldogs will help Boyd’s transition to life outside the AFL.

“Over the last few years we have worked very closely with Tom and his family to support him through a difficult period, and we will continue to offer that support as he enters the next phase of his life,” Grant said.

“We will not forget the role he played on the field, especially in the 2016 finals series when he showed the football world what he was capable of, on the biggest stage possible.

“We will miss Tom’s influence at the Bulldogs, and he and his family will always be welcome at the club.”